Skip to content

5 Books That Should Get Banned

April 17, 2014
Banning books and censorship might not quite be the same thing, but you get the idea.

Banning books and censorship might not quite be the same thing, but you know what I mean. (image via Wikimedia).

Whenever banning books is mentioned, book readers get outraged. I understand that. I don’t like other people, especially people I don’t know, making my decisions for me. Banning books is wrong, very very wrong. But sometimes, I run across a book and think, “This simply should not exist.”

The American Library Association has just published its 10 most banned books list, and book readers are again outraged that anybody would try to ban books. The list isn’t that impressive. 35 years ago, real books got banned. Go Ask Alice, and Sybil, and Massage Parlor II, now those were books that were worth banning. The current list of banned books is lame.

Captain Underpants? Fifty Shades of Grey? Perks of Being a Wallflower? My God, is this what the current generation of book banners has come to?   I yearn for the day when trying to ban a book actually meant something. If was going to ban books (and I’m not, but if I were), I’d pick books that people could agree with me about. I’d pick books where I could gather the support of millions, and storm libraries all across the country (in a figurative way, of course).

1.       1984 by George Orwell and 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke

This is what happens when you write a futuristic book and use the futuristic year as your title. Both 1984 and 2001 have passed us by, and both books with these years as their titles were way off. They weren’t even close. Once the year of a futuristic book with the year in the title has passed us by, the book should get banned because it might confuse people who read. What if befuddled readers thought 1984 and 2001: A Space Odyssey were historical novels? We must prevent such confusion and ban the books just to be on the safe side.

By the way, I also believe the Prince song “1999” should be banned. I was there in 1999 and saw how people partied that year, and believe me, it was ugly.

 2.     Z is for… by Sue Grafton

The alphabet mystery series (starting with A Is For Alibi and B Is For Burglar) is a preposterously bad idea with several corny titles (W Is For Wasted), and yet it seems like the author Sue Grafton might get to book 26. I don’t want anything bad to happen to Sue Grafton before she finishes this bad idea of a series. I want her to finish, but this alphabet series idea was so bad that the last book should get banned, just so that nobody can read all 26 books. That would teach a valuable to all famous authors; persistence might pay, but bad ideas still get punished in some way.

Anybody can ban a book once it’s published.  I want to ban a book that hasn’t even been written yet.  I don’t think even the title has been released yet. I like being unprecedented.

3.      Any James Patterson book with a co-author

James Patterson has enough books published already (I’m not going to count them). He doesn’t need any more, especially if somebody else is wring the books for him. Therefore, any new James Patterson book not completely written by James Patterson should be banned. I will not allow the reading public to have the freedom to make bad decisions on this issue.

I’m not completely unreasonable. If James Patterson completely wrote a new book, I’d allow it to not be banned.

4.     Palo Alto and Actors Anonymous by James Franco

I tried to read Palo Alto. I had my biases, I admit. I thought it would be poorly written, and it was worse than I thought it would be. I’m not even going to think about reading Actor’s Anonymous. If people want to watch James Franco movies, look at James Franco artwork, study with James Franco in college, or watch James Franco hosting awards shows, that’s their business. But books are my business. And these novels by James Franco should be banned… just because!

Maybe if he hired one of James Patterson’s co-authors, his books would be better.

5.      Any Book on a MUST READ List

Almost every literary website/blog has “Must Read” book lists. I’ve seen “10 Books from 2013 You Must Read!” I’ve seen “10 Books You Must Read Before You’re 50!” I’ve seen “10 Books You Must Read Before the Movies Come out!” I’ve even seen “10 Books You Must Read before You Die!” That was pretty morbid. I know when I’m going to turn 50, but I don’t know when I’m going to die. I wouldn’t want to jinx myself by reading all 10 books on that list.

I don’t like it when websites tell me what I must read. I didn’t like it when high school teachers and college professors did it. I really don’t like it when somebody who has no authority over tries to tell me I “MUST READ” a book. I’ll decide what books I must read. And if I could, I’d ban every book from those “Must Read” lists just to discourage others from making such lists. I believe in doing what it takes to discourage bad behavior.


Believe me, I take the act of banning books very seriously. I don’t like making decisions for other people, but sometimes I feel like I have to take a stand. If somebody else wants to ban 50 Shades of Grey because it has poorly written sex scenes, somebody else has to point out that there are so many other books that are far more worthy of getting banned.

But enough about me! What books do you think should get banned? Do the books that I mentioned deserve to get banned?  What criteria do you use when deciding what books to ban?


Here’s a book that’s never been banned, but maybe it should be.

Now available on the Amazon Kindle!

Now available on Amazon!

  1. Captain Underpants. I grew up on those books. How politically correct must people be to ban that? If I had read that list on any other website I’d have thought I was being trolled.

    • Most schools have dress codes that don’t allow kids to run around only in their underwear, so I kind of get it. But banning the book seems excessive. Maybe the book banners should have just hand drawn clothes on all the underwear pictures in the book.

  2. This had me laughing out loud. Funny stuff and some good points made though I don’t think 1984 should get banned because people might get confused. I think the people who might get confused should be banned from reading the book. While we’re at it ban them from voting and breeding too 😛

    • I don’t know if we can ban people from voting, even if they get confused about 1984. We’ve got a Constitution that supposedly prevents us from doing that, and we’d probably have to ban the Constitution (or amend it, and that’s pretty tough) if we were going to do it.

  3. Let us all decide what is junk and what is wonderful. MAYBE we have to read a little junk to appreciate really good writing when we see it.

    • I appreciate literary junk (I call it schlock), as long as it isn’t written by James Patterson or by James Franco, or on a “Must Read” list, or part of an alphabet series, or a futuristic novel with a past year for a title. Other than that, I’m pretty open minded.

  4. The Celestine Prophecy was a giant pile of philisophical pablum and poo poo. Back when this book was popular I had a few people recommend it to me. I read it like I was watching a car accident in slow, excrutiating, motion. It was just awful. The ideas were silly, really silly, and the narrative was just painful. Upon finishing the book I looked very differently at the people who thought this was an important treatise for the development of man.

    • Ugh, I’d forgotten about The Celestine Prophecy. A couple people tried to get me to read that too (maybe 15-20 years ago). I bet it was on a “Must Read” list back then, so I have no problem banning it.

  5. As long as your delightful sense of humour isn’t banned, we’re cool.

    For anarchy’s sake I’m now going to play some Prince. Catch ya on the purple side! *pops collar*

  6. let’s ban people from banning books….just a thought, When books are outlawed, only outlaws will have books….”laughs”

  7. Grafton’s books are stupid and the Fabio kind of love stories.

  8. Alastair Savage permalink

    I’m completely against banning 50 Shades of Grey. I mean, if you ban the first book, how are people going to understand the two sequels? It just doesn’t make sense.

    • Maybe NOT reading the first book makes the other two books better. I don’t know. I haven’t read them either way, but maybe that was the logic behind the attempted ban.

  9. Plgrim’s Progress for being the slowest, odious, over-pious p.o.s. book of all time. Mandatory reading material for a university program of course:(

  10. That;s “Pilgrim’s Progress” incidentally, despite its awful, awful boring everything, it deserves to be spelled correctly:)

  11. Now I have misspelled “that’s”. Going back to bed:)

  12. annabelmcquade permalink

    Could we not just ban every James Patterson novel he writes in the future? There are enough that it would make little difference to his fans, and I’m tired of selling them. Ooh! And Waiting for Godot, which is not a book, but did cause me to sit back after I’d finished reading it and realized that was an hour or two of my life which I would never get back. Any English classes trying to teach it can replace it with an old James Patterson novel.

    • Banning a play? Ooooh, I hadn’t thought of that. That opens up so many new possibilities. Cats… Maybe I’d start with Cats. I need to think about this.

      • annabelmcquade permalink

        Cats is a musical. And hey, I like it! 😛

  13. Amen to dates as titles and James Patterson co-authored books.

    So funny.

    • Since we’re both writing books, we should see if James Patterson will co-author them, and then we can ban our own books, and both of us would be the first authors to self-ban our own books.

  14. 1984’s worth reading, even if the date was off. But yeah, let’s throw 2001 out with its movie

  15. I’m totally with you on the “10 Must Read” lists. There is no such thing as a “Must Read” book, a “Must See” movie, a “Must Hear” album … the list goes on.

    • I don’t trust those lists either. They rarely give you the names of the people who make the lists (so I can’t check their credentials), and they never tell you what will happen to you if you don’t read the books on the MUST READ list. I “Must Read” these books or else… what?

      • Good point. Trouble is, since reading your post I’ve been noticing the lists more and everywhere I look!

        • And there are so many of them that now it’s probably physically impossible to read all the “Must Read” books from all the “Must Read” lists. It therefore can’t be “Must Read” if there are too many of them for a person to read. They’re about to make their lists irrelevant, which is almost as good as getting banned (but not quite).

  16. I would disagree about 1984. The idea of Newspeak is upon us. Let’s be politically correct. Let’s be polite about this or that, although we’re referring to morons and serial killers. Let’s allow the use of language to alter reality, and an adequate description of the truth, or perhaps we should just let cities like Detroit devolve into bankruptcy. Lets hide reality – it isn’t just Detroit that is wasted but it’s also General Motors: Ignition switch concealment is worse than the gas tank placement on the Pinto of the late 1960s.

  17. i think a book is a very subjective experience for someone. I’m no book banning expert but the criteria on banning books should be those that are more applicable socially than personally. For example, if there is some sort of discrimination, or a direct attack on a group or a person, books that have wrong facts about events, stuff like that.

  18. ewain65 permalink

    1984 is a great novel that seeks to remind people how much a government can oppress them. Just because Orwell used the date 1984 doesn’t mean it isn’t relevant.

    • ewain65 permalink


      • Tyler Perry is into movies and television shows. Those are tough to ban. I think we have to boycott those, but that might be next on my agenda.

  19. Something like the alphabet murder books are pretty gimmicky. Even if the books are great, the title formula gets old after only a few books, I think. It’s the sort of thing I’d do as a parody. She’s incredibly dedicated to the series though, since they’ve spanned over 30 years. What do you think “X is for…” will be? Her choices are somewhat limited. Xenophobia?

  20. I agree with your final pick. Not only would it save us the trouble of reading a book because we feel like we’re meant to, but we’re saved the embarrassment of admitting, actually, I didn’t like this book even though it’s meant to be really good.

  21. There is only one book in my entire reading experience that I would seriously consider banning. I’m pretty sure it *was* banned at one point, but it’s the only one I agree with. My only problem with telling you the title is that it engenders curiosity. I’m going to trust to your intelligence. It’s Penrod by Booth Tarkenton. Sexist and racist. Not all banned books are worth reading unless you are using it as a lesson in how a banned book survives long after it should be put out to pasture. This one is really bantha poo-du. Good post.

  22. Add “A Song of Ice and Fire”, please. It is highly unlikely that GRR will ever finish the series, so stop confusing the readers with failed expectations.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. The Literary Rants: Classic Novels Get Banned and Unbanned | Dysfunctional Literacy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: